Hollywood readies for Earth Day

Studios host events honoring the environment

After the release of “An Inconvienent Truth” in 2006, Hollywood’s major studios and agencies made special efforts to put eco-friendly mandates in place.

Most are planning Earth Day-themed events honor of the environment this week. But is Hollywood making a commitment to the spirit of Earth Day –a commitment to the three Rs: Reduce, reuse, recyle — a yearlong commitment?

Yes, according to some of those who are using eco-friendly initiatives to help curb costs over the long term.

” ‘Green’ business is good business,” according to Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Barry Meyer, who maintains that the studio’s green initiatives “are not only good for the environment, but they are beneficial to our bottom line.”

The studio said it saves about $1.3 million annually from energy conservation measures adopted in recent years.

Warner finished construction earlier this year on a “green” soundstage and has installed a 500-kilowatt solar electrical system with more than 2,700 solar panels. It is the largest in the industry, as well as in the city of Burbank, according to Warner Bros.

NBC Universal introduced its “Green Is Universal” campaign several years ago. Beth Colleton, veep of the initiative for the conglom, said is an attempt to “green the way we do business 365 days a year.”

According to the studio, the use of biodiesel fuel on the upcoming Focus Features pic “Away We Go” resulted in a reduction of harmful carbon emissions.

NBC U reported a total reduction of 3% in greenhouse gas emissions in 2008, saving the studio $2 million.

At Sony, the studio began a set-recycling initiative in an attempt to offset the carbon footprints of their film and TV production. In 2008, the studio rented out more than 5,000 set pieces.

In addition, its use of solar panels on the studio lot’s Jimmy Stewart building has cut carbon emissions by more than 180 tons, Sony said.

“The great thing about the majority of these initiatives is that they ultimately save us money,” said Jon Corcoran, VP of environmental sustainability at Sony. “All of our divisions now are taking a look at how they can do their business differently.

“We used to have to bang down the doors,” Corcoran added. “Now our phone’s ringing off the hook.”

Among the other studio and agency initiatives are:

  • Along with its new Disneynature label, the Mouse House is packaging all DVDs in 100% recyclable material.

  • Conservation initiatives reduced Fox’s “24” carbon emissions by nearly 40% from season six to seven.

  • United Talent Agency has reduced its paper usage by 54% over the past year as it moves toward digital systems.

  • Partnering with vendors who use either zero-emission or alternative fuel, William Morris Agency also has 15 hybrid vehicles in its fleet.

(Sharon Swart contributed to this report.)

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